What is EMIS?
An Energy Management Information System, or EMIS, is the name industry has given to tools that track energy use in organizations. The vast majority of EMIS system tools are now Software as a Service, or SaaS, meaning that the software is cloud based, which shifts the responsibility for data security and IT maintenance to the vendor.
Rede is experienced in the implementation and management of various EMIS system tools, which can be divided into two camps:
A. Monthly utility bill management
B. Site-sourced interval metered data management
The two camps generally aim to achieve distinct goals and therefore command different reasons for using them; despite overlaps the two are not the same and rarely do they perform both functions equally well. Rede can help you configure both of these applications and provide ongoing management and interpretation of these valuable reports. If your school district is measuring, tracking, and reporting on energy consumption, using an EMIS system tool will help greatly in the mining of energy usage.
About utility bill management
Software for utility bill management (option A above), exists to track utility bills and provide tools that are inherently invoice-related:
- Bill auditing
- Data reliability
- Cost avoidance tracking
What it provides
Sourced from monthly utility bills this tool summarizes past 30 days of utility costs and quantities. The data recorded aids in ongoing Measurement, Tracking & Reporting (MT&R) as well as creating benchmarks and auditing your costs. Typically, an implementation cost applies that is usually two to three times that of the recurring monthly cost.
Leaders and managers like using this tool primarily because of its ability to report on how money is being spent, will be spent, and is being saved if an energy management program is present. As a SaaS, there is generally a higher first-year cost to cover implementation and a lower annually recurring cost. Examples of tools include:
- School Dude
- Utility Manager
- Energy Center
About Interval management
Software for interval management (option B above) exists to provide granularity in the operation of your building or subsystem. It uses building-level or sub-building meters (called sub-meters) to accurately measure energy on some interval of time, such as per 15 minutes or hourly, such that HVAC schedules and occupancy patterns can be trended and operational changes meant to decrease energy use can be tracked.
What it provides
Sourced from an existing utility meter or third-party power logger connected to a data server, this tool analyzes data to arrive at operational efficiencies not otherwise available. Similar to A above, implementation costs are two to three times more than monthly recurring costs, however the overall costs for B-type tools will be two to three time more than A-type).
Interval meters are great tools to provide to students to augment their conservation campaigns as a means to quantify their activities’ impact on energy resulting. Operational initiatives that attempt to minimize demand (demand shedding) or somehow restructure time of day energy use will require interval management tools. Examples of tools include:
How can we decide what EMIS tool we need?
The worn out adage, you cannot control what you don’t measure, applies to both types of EMIS software. Before making your selection, identify your needs. We recommend that all organizations harness the reporting power of Monthly Utility Bill Management (A above); Rede conducts annual reviews of A-type market solutions and can work with you to choose the best solution based on your needs. The selection of a Site-sourced Interval Metered Data Management tool (B above) demand design consideration and therefore a consultant’s attention.
Outcomes of EMIS
EMIS tools (A-type and B-type) can help provide the following information:
- Measure school energy consumption and associated drivers over time (e.g., ambient conditions or other common drivers in commercial buildings)
- Create a predictive model relating building energy consumption to drivers
- Use the predictive model and associated analysis and reporting to:
- Identify periods of best performance
- Quantify savings
- Set targets for reduced consumption
- Compare actual consumption to best practice
- Determine when the building energy consumption is higher than expected
- Initiate action to correct variances.